Consumer Buying and Decision Making Behavior of a Digital Camera in Thailand

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1 Consumer Buying and Decision Making Behavior of a Digital Camera in Thailand Kawee Boonlertvanich Institute of International Studides, Ramkhamhaeng University Bangkok, Thailand Abstract The purpose of this research was to study the behavior of consumers who purchase digital still cameras in Thailand. The foundation of this study was the consumer style inventory (Sproles and Kendall, 1986). However, this research applied adapted consumer style inventory (CSI) by adding three more factors including media influence, social influence and lifestyle. To investigate the CSI, a convenient sample was selected from undergraduate university in Bangkok. Four hundred and fifty surveys were sent to sample group; four hundred were identified as valid for the study. As a result of the factor analysis, ten factors found to be the most appropriate representation of Thai consumer decision-making styles for digital camera. Therefore, an eleven-factor model clearly identified a ten-factor model: (1) price consciousness, (2) impulse consciousness, (3) fashion consciousness, (4) social influence, (5) habit/ brand or store loyalty, (6) mass media influence, (7) quality consciousness, (8) lifestyle influence, (9) confusion consciousness and (10) recreation consciousness. Introduction How do consumers decide which particular product, brand or service to purchase? This is an eternal question that marketers continue to ponder over. The consumer buying behavior is an important research area with direct impact on the marketing process of a firm. A firm s ability to establish and maintain satisfying exchange relationships requires an understanding of buying behavior. Buying behavior is the decision processes and acts of people involved in buying and using product. One of the questions being asked is whether the consumer buying behavior differs where new technology products are concerned? The influence of technology is pervasive. High technological markets are categorized as complex. In addition, they exist under rapidly changing technological conditions that lead to shorter life cycles and the need for rapid decisions (Bridges, Coughlan, and Kalish 1991). Speed is very 57

2 important in high tech markets and it is driven by increasing competition and the continually growing expectations of customers (Doyle and Saunders 1985). Higher levels of risk caused by these factors will affect both the customer and the producer. As a result of these dynamic market conditions high tech companies frequently depend on a product focus (Dugal and Schroeder 1995, Marcus and Segal 1989). In addition, a product focus is direct by the innovations in technology rather than by the needs of the customer. This subject often leads to neglect of a customer focus that is a key success on today s globally competitive markets. One way to focus on consumers is to study their decisions. Insight into customer decision-making process leads to a better development of an effective marketing strategy. Resulting strategies may be modified or altered depending upon how the consumer acquires, processes, and uses decision-making information when purchasing. Understanding buying-related decision-making behavior of consumers is important for companies strategic marketing activities, and effective communication with different consumer segments can be helped by understanding the psychological processes that affect consumer behavior. Scope of the Research The respondents who are interested and or have purchased digital cameras and related equipments will be chosen as the population of this study. The research will be conducted in Bangkok area by which questionnaires are distributed to respondents. The sample will be undergraduate students and it is selected from University population. Consumer Decision Making Theories Consumer decision making is complex and involves a number of constructs. Several aspects consumer decision making have been reviewed by researches. Consumer decision-making is defined as the behavior patterns of consumers that proceed, determine and follow the decision making process for the acquisition of need satisfying products, ideas or services. In addition, some researchers have advised that consumers are value driven (Zeithaml, 1988; Levy, 1999). The most widely used consumer decision-making theory was written by Mowen and Minor (2000). There were five steps in decision making process that included recognizing problems, searching for solutions, evaluating alternatives, choosing among options, and evaluating the outcomes of the choice. In 1986, Sproles and Kendall specifically designed Consumer Styles Inventory (CSI) to investigate and describe consumer decision-making styles. The Consumer Styles Inventory (CSI) was defined as mental orientation characterizing a consumer s approach in making consumer choices. This model has been used internationally by many great researchers to identify the different shopping characteristics or decisionmaking styles of consumers. There have been a substantial number of studies designed to investigate consumer behavior. In this research, the Consumer Styles Inventory 58

3 (CSI) was considered to examine Thai consumers decision-making styles on digital still camera. Methodology This research applies a quantitative research design and surveys the consumer s decision-making styles, using the adapted Consumer Style Inventory (CSI), to examine consumer s purchasing behavior of digital still camera market in Bangkok. In addition, some factors other than the Consumer Style Inventory are added to increase credibility of this study such as social influence, media influence and lifestyles. Moreover, this study also focused on the relationship among age, gender, income and other factors with eight styles of consumer decision making. Population and Sample Size The population of the study was undergraduate university students in Bangkok. Bangkok had the population of undergraduate university students 509,397 persons (Thailand Ministry of Education, 2004). From calculation, a sample size of 400 was required within 95 percent confidence. In addition, the sample size of 400 would effectively balance statistical reliability and project cost, for a 95 percents confidence level (Blankenship, Edward, and Dutka, 1998). Sampling Method and Procedures For this research, CSI questionnaire was adapted and 51 items contained in the CSI questionnaire were Likert-scaled items. Items were on a scale of one to five, with ratings of strongly disagree and strongly agree as end points. The survey instrument divided consumers into eight decision-making styles and effectively measured their behavior in purchasing digital camera. In addition, three factors were added to measure consumer decision-making styles including social influence, media influence and lifestyles. Altogether there were eleven factors to be test in this research. Data Collection Procedures The questionnaires were distributed at Chulalongkorn, Thammasat and Ramkhamhaeng University. The convenient-sampling method was used in the study. The participants were undergraduate university students in Bangkok. The questionnaire had fifty one questions. Four hundred and fifty participants were given the questionnaire pack that contained (a) demographic questions and (b) the adapted CSI questionnaire regarding to digital cameras. To prevent errors the researcher used questionnaires as an instrument to interview the respondents by the researcher will ask questions and the respondents will answer all questions to be asked. Of the 450 participants, 400 were identified as valid sample by the researcher. 59

4 Reliability Test To test the reliability of the fifty-one items in the questionnaire, factor analysis was analyzed by using the Statistic Package for the Social Science (SPSS 12.0) software. The alpha coefficients for each factor in this study are presented in Table 1. The Cronbach s alpha coefficients for factor 1, factor 2, factor 3, factor 4, factor 5, factor 6, factor 7, factor 8, factor 9, factor 10 and factor 11 were between.707 and.811, indicating satisfactory levels of reliability. However, factor 2 showed low reliability with the alpha coefficient.433, indicating an unsatisfactory level of reliability on consumer shopping characteristics. Even though factor 2 resulted in low reliability, it was decided that the factor could be used in the test of the shopping characteristic, because brand consciousness/price equal quality have marginal reliability. For consistency, it was decided that reliabilities should not be below.4, the same level used by Sproles and Kendall (1986). Table 1 Reliability for Consumer Styles Inventory (CSI) Questionnaire Factors Cronbach s Alpha Perfectionistic/High-Quality Consciousness.785 Brand Consciousness/Price Equals Quality.433 Novelty/Fashion Consciousness.711 Recreational/Hedonic Consciousness.782 Price Consciousness/Value for the Money.746 Impulsiveness/Carelessness.707 Confusion by Overchoice.811 Habit/Brand or Store Loyalty.727 Mass Media Influence.759 Social Influence.712 Lifestyle Influence.707 Moreover, this research also used Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin (KMO) test to examine whether the data was fit to use factor analysis in analyzing data. From Table 2, the value of KMO (.869) was closed to 1. Moreover, the significant value (.000) was less than.05 when using Bartlett s Test of Sphericity. Therefore, factor analysis was suitable with the analysis of this research. 60

5 Table 2 KMO and Bartlett s Test Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin Measure of Sampling Adequacy..869 Bartlett s Test of Sphericity Chi-Square Df 1275 Sig..000 Statistical Data Analysis For statistical data analysis, factor analysis, Spearman correlation, an independent samples t-test, Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney test, one-way ANOVA and Kruskal Wallis test were used as statistical tools by this research. Results Results of Factor Analysis As a result of the factor analysis in Table 3, ten factors found to be the most appropriate representation of Thai consumer decision-making styles for digital camera appeared out of the fifty-one individual items divided into eleven factors, and twentyseven items were retained in this study. Therefore, an eleven-factor model clearly identified a ten-factor model: (1) price consciousness, (2) impulse consciousness, (3) fashion consciousness, (4) social influence, (5) habit/brand or store loyalty, (6) mass media influence, (7) quality consciousness, (8) lifestyle influence, (9) confusion consciousness and (10) recreation consciousness. 61

6 Table 3 Result of Factor Analysis for Shopping Characteristics for Digital Camera Factor Loading Price Price Price Impulse Impulse Impulse Impulse Fashion Fashion Social Social Social Social Loyalty Loyalty Loyalty Mass Quality Quality Lifestyle Lifestyle Confuse Confuse Recreation Recreation Correlations between Consumer Decision-Making Styles According to Table 4, consumer decision making style 2 (Impulse consciousness) was slightly positively related with consumer style 9 (Confusion consciousness) at significant level.01. Consumer decision making style 4 (Social Influence) was slightly positively related with consumer style 7 (Perfectionistic/High-Quality consciousness) at significant level.05. Consumer decision making style 6 (Mass media influence) was slightly positively related with consumer style 10 (Recreation consciousness) at significant level.01. Consumer decision making style 8 (Lifestyle influence) was slightly positively related with consumer style 9 (Confusion consciousness) at significant level

7 Table 4 Correlations between Decision-Making Styles of Consumer Styles * ** * ** Note 1. ** Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed). * Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed). Note 2. Style 1 Price consciousness, Style 2 Impulse consciousness, Style 3 Fashion consciousness, Style 4 Social consciousness, Style 5 Habit/brand or store loyalty, Style 6 mass media influence, Style 7 Quality consciousness, Style 8 Lifestyle influence, Style 9 Confusion consciousness and Style 10 Recreation consciousness. Furthermore, price, impulse, media, quality, confusion and recreation consciousness style of consumer was not significantly different based on gender. This means that genders were not different in their price, impulse, media, quality and confusion and recreation consciousness style of shopper. In contrast, fashion, social, habit/brand loyalty and lifestyle consciousness style of consumer was significantly different based on gender. This means that genders were different in their fashion, social, habit/brand loyalty and lifestyle consciousness style of customer. In addition, all ten style of consumer was not significantly different based on ownership. This means that ownership were not different in their price, impulse, fashion, social, habit/ brand loyalty, media, quality, lifestyle and confusion and recreation consciousness style of shopper. Future purchase intention was not different in their price, impulse, social, habit/brand loyalty, media, quality and lifestyle and confusion consciousness style of consumer. In contrast, future purchase intention was different in their fashion and recreation consciousness style of customer. Income also was not dependent on impulse, social, confusion and recreation consciousness style of consumer. In contrast, income was dependent on price, fashion, habit/brand loyalty, media and quality and lifestyle consciousness style of customer. 63

8 Summary and Discussions The demographic information indicated most owners purchased digital cameras for personal use. Most of the future buyers had the same intention. For owners the most popular brands were Sony followed by Canon and Fuji. The price range for owned digital cameras was from US $263 to $395. For those future buyers, Sony s digital cameras received the most attention followed by Canon and Konica. In addition, consumers tended to purchase well-known brands in the market rather than those Other brands that were less known. Moreover, the results showed that the prices future buyers intended to spend were the same as the prices paid by the participants who already owned digital cameras. Difference by Gender Interestingly, the digital camera s price of female owners was higher than those of the male owners. Although, the owner rate of the female participants was higher than that of the male participants, the rates for those who intended to buy a digital camera were almost the same. Marketing managers should notice that female respondents were a large group of digital camera buyers in Bangkok. The product design, promotion, and development should not ignore female buyers. Differences between Age Groups When looking at the numbers of respondents who owned digital cameras persons in the years age group could be considered as key potential consumers in Thailand digital camera market. Considering the brands owned by participants aged less than 18 to 34 years old, the research found that the consumers purchased famous brands of digital cameras in Thailand such as Sony, Canon and Fuji. Moreover, most respondents had no interest on future purchase of digital cameras and they were looking for a low price digital camera when they wanted to purchase a new digital camera. Therefore, marketing managers should design and develop new products to attract these consumers by focusing more on the price of digital camera. Differences between Incomes The results showed that the consumers in Bangkok who were interested in purchasing a digital camera were mostly in the under US $263 (223 persons) and US $263 to $395 (61 persons) monthly income groups. Moreover, it was strange that there was a tendency for respondents in the low income groups to own digital cameras. It is possible that the price of digital cameras has come down compared to the past and as digital camera has become common. In addition, as the technology advances, the price of digital cameras is decreasing and the quality is improving. The future 64

9 purchase intention for the income group from US $263 to $395 was also the highest rate compared to other income groups. On the other hand, income level seemed to influence the amount spent, or intended to spend on getting a digital camera in the future. Participants who had high monthly incomes were more likely to have spent less money either on purchasing or planning on a future purchase of a digital camera. For example, most respondents who had income from US $395 to $526 were willing to buy a digital camera with price range from US $263 to$395. In contrast, participants who had low monthly incomes were more likely to have spent more money either on purchasing or planning on a future purchase of a digital camera. For example, most respondents who had income less than US $263 were willing to buy a digital camera with price from US $263 to$395. Again Marketing strategists needed to take note of this. References Bridges, E., Coughlan, A. T., & Kalish, S. (1991). New technology adoption in an innovative marketplace: Micro- and macro-level decision making models. International Journal of Forecasting, 7(3), Blankenship, A. B., Dutka, A. F., & Breen, G. E. (1998). State of the art marketing research. Lincolnwood, IL: NIC Business Books. Doyle, P., & Saunders, J. (1985). The lead effect of marketing decisions. Journal of Marketing Research, 22(1), Dugal, S. S., & Schroeder, J. E. (1995). Strategic positioning for market entry in different technological environments. Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, 3(3), Levy, S. J. (1999). Brands, consumers, symbols, & research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Marcus, A. I., & Segal, H. P. (1999). Technology in America: A brief history (2 nd ed.). Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace College Publishers. Mowen, J. C., & Minor, M. S. (2001). Consumer behavior: A framework. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall. Sproles, G. B., & Kendall, E. L. (1986). A methodology for profiling consumers decision-making styles. The Journal of Consumer Affairs. 20(2),

10 Zeithaml, V. A. (1988). Consumer perceptions of price, quality, and value: A meansend model and synthesis of evidence. Journal of Marketing, 52(3),

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